Friday, February 28, 2014

Near the Arctic Circle

From the trades:

... “Scandinavian animated films mostly target children and family audiences, and they tend to boast a more traditional, standardized graphic style that’s easier to market,” says Marc Vandeweyer, head of animation co-production forum Cartoon Movie. In that regard they compare more closely with U.S. toons than, for instance, Gallic efforts like “Persepolis” or “Waltz With Bashir.” ...

The Scandi animation biz traditionally has been focused on TV series, but in recent years, producers have increasingly started to look into feature-length films. ...

The success of 2008 Finnish pic “The Flight Before Christmas,” a €6.1 million ($8.2 million) CGI feature that grossed nearly $22 million worldwide, launched the Nordic feature animation boom. The pic, which follows the adventures of a young reindeer, was picked it up by the Weinstein Co. for the U.S. Its sequel, the $9.6 million “Little Brother, Big Trouble: A Christmas Adventure,” grossed another $22 million worldwide, including $3.3 million in China. ...

You will note that Scandinavian features, much like other European features, have lower budgets and lower grosses. But made for the right price, they can still become tidy little profit centers.

$22 million in global grosses is not a lot of money, but if costs are around $6 million, by the time the pictures have circulated through all distribution channels, the long-form cartoons will be comfortably in the black.

Scandinavian animation isn't much different than Spanish or French animation. Quality can be produced for less money, then distributed with okay results. No, the pictures won't make $500 million, but the take will be high enough so that more animated features get pushed into the production pipeline. (These cartoonss might not show up on our radar, but they're part of second-tier movie markets that are wide and deep.)


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